Generally, I have a policy to indiscriminately hate Valentine's Day.
I don't like bad chocolates, I don't like fuzzy teddy bears with high-pitched voices warbling cutesy messages every time you press their paws, and I absolutely detest those chalky little candy hearts. I mean, come on. Valentine's Day is just a day for cheesy slogans and bad puns. "BEE MINE" with a little bumblebee? Aren't we past that yet?
Valentine's Day fills me with ire and resentment about being single, year after year, and watching my friends get gooey about each other and exchange flowers and candy with increasing enthusiasm. No matter how many Anti-Valentine's parties I attend, I always end up feeling depressingly lonely.
This year, all that negativity got me thinking.
Valentine's Day, from the outside, can be seen as a consumerist excuse to sell chocolate and cheap trinkets to couples who can't keep their eyes, hands, or apparently wallets off of each other. Even from the inside of love, perhaps Hallmark cards are cheesy excuses for emotion, and those candy hearts still taste like ground-up sidewalk chalk.
But everything in our culture is consumerist. Even originally "religious" holidays like Christmas, the mother of all consumer holidays, are represented in the media as excuses to buy happiness at strip malls and in online catalogs. Does this take all meaning away from Christmas for those who celebrate it? Clearly not.
I realized this: Valentine's Day is a pretty great idea at its heart. It's a time of year when people who are in relationships, queer or straight, can remind themselves - whether through a handmade valentine or through a box of store-bought candy - of why they're a couple in the first place. It's a time of year when those of us who are single aren't in the foreground, and when staying in and watching a movie with your significant other isn't considered antisocial.
What's wrong with Valentine's Day? Sure, it makes me feel like crap once a year. But it makes my couple friends feel great. Maybe, just sometimes, love should be the main event, even if it is a little consumerist.